G20 laws “illegal” and “unconstitutional”

Ontario ombudsman slams McGuinty government and Police Chief Bill Blair

Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin argues the enactment of a secret law ahead of the G20 was “illegal'” and “likely unconstitutional” in an extensive 125-page report titled Caught in the Act. In the report, Marin said the law “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

Earlier this year in June, at the request of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal cabinet designated areas within the G20 security zone a “public work” using regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act. Marin maintains the public should have been better informed when the police powers were changed. “By changing the legal landscape without fanfare in this way, regulation 233/10 operated as a trap for those who relied on their ordinary legal rights,” wrote Marin in the report. “It gave police powers that are unfamiliar in a free and democratic society. Steps should have been taken to ensure that the Toronto Police Service understood what they were getting.”

The Toronto Police force is currently being investigated by the Ontario’s Office of the Independent Review Director, the province’s Special Investigations Unit, and the Police Services Board over allegations police used excessive force against anti-globalization protesters during last June’s summit.

Ontario ombudsman’s office

Toronto Star

The Globe and Mail

Toronto Star

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.